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Etowah County Courthouse: 1940

Etowah County Courthouse: 1940

December 1940. "Courthouse. Saturday afternoon. Gadsden, Alabama." Medium format acetate negative by John Vachon for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


Civil defense sirens?

Probably not. But what are those four horns on the rooftop?

[It's a floral finial. - Dave]

Leg Braces and Wheelchair

Crossing the street at the lower left. Almost certainly a polio victim. People have forgotten what toll that disease took in those days.

Christmas shoppers?

At bottom center, we can see a couple with their Gadsden Purchase.

One Busy Courthouse

Putting together December + Saturday + garlands on the wires + folks carrying packages, I think the crowds are more likely doing holiday shopping than having business in the courthouse.

Hometown Courthouse

I'm happily surprised to see my little hometown on Shorpy! This building is demolished, unfortunately. It was replaced in the '50s with a more streamlined courthouse designed by Paul W. Hofferbert for which we have some of the original pencil on vellum drawings here in our architecture office.

But how's the pizza there?

I have a good friend from Etowah County. He's from Attala, a town just west of Gadsden, and always refers to himself as an "Attalian."

7 Years From Tear Down

This building is gone, ripped down for a W.T. Grant. (Streetview tells me that the W.T. Grant was replaced by a bank.) The current courthouse is that governmental moderne that can be kind of cool.

See for info on the location of the old courthouse and the impact of its removal on the neighborhood.

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